Archive for power ballads

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Tooth and Nail

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Although released in 1984, it took a long time before Dokken’s “Tooth and Nail” album finally got some notice. For me, it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. By March of 1985, heavy metal got little or no airplay on commercial radio of MTV save for two singles from this album. The first one, “Alone Again,” is number ten on my all time favourite power ballads list. I can’t describe it but the song just kicks ass.

It’s not just the power ballad that makes “Tooth and Nail” my all time favourite Dokken album. Just so happens that it also contains my all time favourite Dokken song, “You Just Got Lucky.” While they were being accused of becoming another glam metal band, this song proved to the world they could still play. I just love how George Lynch works his guitar magic on the song and Don Dokken does a straight forward clean vocal performance. While rumours of these two men totally hating each other were rife even then, this song shows how well they put their differences aside when it mattered.

“Tooth and Nail” has some other great metal tunes on it as well. The title cut is the closest thing to thrash the band will ever come to, a very powerful song. “Heartless Heart” doesn’t shy away from being a great metal tune although the harmonizing vocals begin to remind me of what they would do on future albums but fortunately, this time, I’m able to go back in my mind to 1985 and forget all that. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” offers up more of the same. Great power chords and vocals with some fine, fancy guitar work and that guitar work continues many-fold on “When Heaven Comes Down.” That’s a hard, grindy type of song with a cool guitar solo.

“Into the Fire” was the first single released from the album and thinking back to late 1984, I don’t remember hearing it on any commercial media. Maybe it was too heavy amid the backlash against heavy metal that was starting. What I know is that I like it and as much as I sing the praises of George’s guitar capabilities, I never fully appreciated how great he really was. After another great rocker, “Bullets to Spare,” comes the forementioned power ballad. The thing is that on my first few listens, I thought that maybe “Alone Again” should have been the closer but the way the actual closer, “Turn on the Action,” ends, there is no need to swap things around. The album is good as it is.

Track Listing:

  1. Without Warning
  2. Tooth and Nail
  3. You Just Got Lucky
  4. Heartless Heart
  5. Don’t Close Your Eyes
  6. When Heaven Comes Down
  7. Into the Fire
  8. Bullets to Spare
  9. Alone Again
  10. Turn on the Action

Dokken

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitars

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums

The “Tooth and Nail” album from Dokken brought a little sunshine to what was a dour early 1985, musically. While it’s always been my favourite Dokken album, I think I like it even more these days.

Next Music Post: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force

There will be another excerpt from my story before that. Oh yes, I would love to read people’s thoughts on Puppy from the last post.

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80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 1-10

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

The moment of truth has arrived! I am going to real my all time top ten power ballads. Before I do, let me just thank you for all of your comments and for simply enjoying the ride. While sitting down actually figuring out my top 30 was more exhausting than I had anticipated, it was still great fun. Think of all the songs I got to listen to. I know some of you might be a little disappointed that a power ballad you really love didn’t make the list but believe me, there were so many to choose from. Pity poor Ozzy, he has delivered many a great power ballad but not one of them made my list. It’s not that I didn’t want to include him, my favourite Ozzy power ballad, “In Old LA Tonight” from the “Osmosis” album came pretty damn close. Maybe if he preforms it at Download, I may change my mind. Anyway, enough of me rambling on, here’s my top ten.

10. Dokken- Alone Again

9. TNT- Eddie

8. Beggars and Thieves- Your Love is in Vain

7. Steel Panther- Community Property

I can see with lyrics like these why some people don’t take SP seriously but this is a kick ass power ballad!

6. Tyketto- Standing Alone

Another reason why Danny Vaughn doesn’t get the accolades he so truly deserves as a singer.

5. Pretty Maids- With These Eyes

4. Twisted Sister- The Price

For me, this song put the power in the ballad!

3. Savatage- All That I Bleed

I had to do some complicated math to include this one. The first half of it is a piano ballad while the second half completely rocks. So I applied the formula ballad + power rocker = power ballad

2. April Wine- Just Between You and Me

Go back and re-read my post on their 1981 album, “Nature of the Beast” and you’ll see why it’s number two.

  1. Heart- Allies

Heart would put out two more commercially successful power ballads later on in the 1980s. However, in my mind, they would never be as good as this one, not even close.

There you have it, 80sMetalman’s top thirty power ballads. I hope you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I have.

Next post: A Great Unknown Philadelphia Band

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80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 11-20

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2018 by 80smetalman

It figures that once I embarked on this massive project, there would be power ballads from my past which really liked but forgot about because of time. Since my last post two have come to light in my mind. Now I know how Sam Beckett must have felt like in Quantum Leap with the Swiss cheese brain. One of them, “I Believe In You” by Y&T, was one but would have only made the lower twenties. The other I have put it jointly with another on the upcoming list. Thing about this one is that this band has already had an entry and though the one from the previous list was commercially more popular, I prefer the the ballad on today’s post to that one. Anyway, here’s 11-20!

20. Def Leppard- Bringing On the Heartbreak

19. Pretty Boy Floyd- I Want to Be With You

18. Danger Danger- One Step From Paradise

17. Von Groove- Arianne

16. Warrant- Glimmer

15. Poison- Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I know I take the piss out of this song a lot but I secretly really kind of like it.

(Joint) 14. The Scorpions- Still Loving You

Yep, you guessed it! This was the other one I had forgotten about. Call me weird but I prefer this one to “Winds of Change.”

(Joint) 14. Metallica- Nothing Else Matters

13. Asphalt Ballet- Wasted Time

12. Steelheart- I’ll Never Let You Go

11. Little Angels- I Ain’t Gonna Cry

There are probably other great power ballads I had forgotten about and you can feel free to put them forward but I must tell you, my top ten is set in stone. In the meantime, you got 11 great power ballads to rock out to.

Next post: 1-10

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80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 21-30

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

I’ve said on many a post that I’m a sucker for a good power ballad and there have been many on the hundreds of albums I have posted about so far. Therefore, I thought it would be nice, before I take the tour into 1985, that I share my top 30 power ballads, ten at a time. Originally, there was only going to be 20 but there are so many good ones out there that I had to extend it by another ten.

Google defines a power ballad by being an emotional rock song, generally focused on love with strong vocals. That is only half of my definition of the term. For me, a power ballad consists of either good power chords on the electric guitar or a blistering guitar solo, preferably both. That is why I get annoyed at supposed power ballad compilation albums. Sorry, as much as I love, “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner, it doesn’t match my definition.

The problem many people have with them is the fact that they cross over into forbidden territories. Many metalheads consider them too soft for metal, while more trendy music listeners are put off by the power chords. I can’t see why we can’t have both, especially when they’re done well. Besides, while they won’t admit, many male metalheads keep power ballads on hand when they want to show their ladies their more ‘intimate’ side.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now and give you 80smetalman’s top power ballads, 21-30.

30. Hanoi Rocks- Million Miles Away

29. Gotthard- Still I Belong to You

28. Jefferson Starship- Fading Lady Light

Note: This was the first power ballad fitting my definition that I ever heard

27. LA Guns- Ballad of Jane

26. Motley Crue- Home Sweet Home

25. Nazereth- Love Hurts

This was the second power ballad I heard. I didn’t hear it until 1981, otherwise it would have been the first.

24. The Scorpions- Winds of Change

23. Anthrax- Nice F*ckin’ Ballad

I know Anthrax were taking to piss here but it still a cool power ballad.

22. Crystal Ball- Silence of the Night

21. Guns N Roses- November Rain

There you have it! The first ten power ballads on the list. Have a listen, sit back, mellow out and enjoy the guitar solos.

Next post: 11-20

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: TNT- Knights of New Thunder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

You’ve probably guessed that I’ve been off from my main job the past several days or why else would I be able to post three days in a row? That all changes as I’m back in work tonight so before I go, I thought I’d leave it with a post about an album from whom I call my favourite Norwegian band, TNT. Leaves Eyes does come a close second though. I didn’t hear their second album, “Knights of New Thunder” until 1986 and I have to say that I was quite impressed when I did.

“Knights of New Thunder” was the first album to feature American born Tony Harnell, though for some reason, he is credited on the first few TNT albums as Hansen. Anyway, Tony’s fantastic vocal range completed what is essentially a great band. I can totally understand why my sister put him into her band of underrated musicians. Speaking of underrated, guitarist Ronni Le Tekro doesn’t get the true recognition he deserves either. He does hammer out some really amazing guitar solos on this album.

Things open on the album with probably the best known track on it, “Seven Seas.” It seems to be the one most people remember whenever it is mentioned. The reason for this is a no-brainer. Harnell’s vocals shine through straight away supported by Le Tekro’s guitar work. We must not forget the rhythm section of Morty Black and Diesel Dahl who are as tight as any on this album. While “Seven Seas” is the most well known track on “Knights of New Thunder,” the rest of the album is just as good. In fact, the only tracks that might be called filler are “USA” and “Deadly Metal” though I like both of these tracks too. On a personal note, the lyrics to “Break the Ice” were very important to me in late 1986. The title track ranks right up there with the best album closers.

There is one difference in the tracks on the US version and the European version of the album. Having the US one, I was treated to my favourite track on the album, “Eddie,” while Europeans had the track “Tor With the Hammer” which itself is a pretty good track. “Eddie” is a very good power ballad whose lyrics I found very amusing. I think the song is about a deranged dog but I have known humans who fit in quite nicely with the lyrics of the chorus.

“Eddie likes torture and pain;

And Eddie’s crying in the rain;

Eddie’s got a twisted brain;

And neighours think that he’s insane;

Eddie strikes again.” 

Track listing:

  1. Seven Seas
  2. Ready to Leave
  3. Klassik Romance
  4. Last Summer’s Evil
  5. Lost Without Your Love
  6. Break the Ice
  7. Tor With the Hammer
  8. USA
  9. Deadly Metal
  10. Knights of New Thunder
  11. Eddie (Track 6 on the US version)

TNT

Tony Harnell (Hansen in the credits)- lead vocals

Ronni Le Tekro- guitars, backing vocals

Morty Black- bass, backing vocals, synthesizer

Diesel Dahl- drums

Because of “Eddie,” there are two power ballads on the US version of “Knights of New Thunder.” While I prefer “Eddie” to “Lost Without Your Love,” I do think Le Tekro’s guitar solo on the song is amazing. It has been said that “Knights of New Thunder” would be TNT’s last pure metal album as they would go more glam after. My sister was always jealous of the band’s hair. While, I will explore that theory down the line, I will say for now to just kick back on enjoy the delights of this one.

Next post: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Whitesnake- Slide It In

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

Well, here I go! This is my fourth post in as many days and my fifth in the past six. See what happens when a person has too much time on their hands. It is a good feeling compared to when I am so swamped, I worry that I won’t get out my self appointed quota of two posts a week. What better way to end this run than to post about the first Whitesnake album I seriously listened to, “Slide It In.”

One thing I didn’t realize back in 84 that I learned shortly after was that Whitesnake were going through their normal personnel changes at the time the album was recorded. After the recording of the album, both guitarists and bassist would leave bringing in guitarist John Sykes and bassist Neil Murray to play on the US version of the album. As it was the US version I’m most familiar with, the focus of the post will be in light of that.

For those who have Whitesnake’s “Greatest Hits” album, one would believe that they put out loads of power ballads. However, those who delve further into the band’s discography would quickly discover the misconception of that belief. The two tracks on “Slide It In” that comes even close to being a power ballad are “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and the single, “Slow and Easy.” Even those songs only appear to be such at the beginning before going much harder.

The album also leads off with the title track and my all time favourite Whitesnake song. This song demonstrates that Whitesnake has always had it in them to be more than a commercial metal band who played nothing more than power ballads. These days people say that about Bon Jovi but I digress. The rest of “Slide It In” follows in the vein of my all time favourite song. The songs are harder although there is some good melody in them. I like the Jon Lord’s keyboards sound in “Gambler,” especially the way it links up with the guitar solo. “Guilty of Love” is similar to the title track as a metal tune. It would have sounded even better if the guitar on the mix was turned up a fraction higher. Same things can be said for the remainder of the songs for I can see why some people argue that “Slide it In” was Whitesnake’s last real metal album.

Track Listing:

  1. Slide It In
  2. Slow and Easy
  3. Love Ain’t No Stranger
  4. All Or Nothing
  5. Gambler
  6. Guilty of Love
  7. Hungry for Love
  8. Give Me More Time
  9. Spit It Out
  10. Standing in the Shadow

Whitesnake- 1984

David Coverdale- lead vocals

Mel Galley- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Moody- guitar

Carl Hodgkinson- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Cozy Powell- drums

John Sykes- guitar on US release

Neil Murray- bass on US release

John Sykes

Was “Slide It In” Whitesnake’s last real metal album? I won’t get roped into that debate, especially when I hear some of the songs from their next album. However, that wouldn’t come out for another three years so it’s hard to judge. What I do know is that I really liked this album and it compelled me to go check out Whitesnake’s earlier material, particularly when I got to England.

Next post: David Bowie- Tonight

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Keel- Lay Down the Law

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2018 by 80smetalman

I’m now back in the UK and after getting over my worst ever case of jet lag, it’s back to business as usual here on 80smetalman’s Blog. Obediently following my list of albums for 1984, upon my return, the next one up just happened to be “Lay Down the Law” by Keel. This was one where back in the day, I listened to a couple of times and thought, “It’s okay,” before putting it to one side and hardly bothering with it since. As a result, the question as to whether I would be of the same opinion thirty plus years later came into play now.

Now, I know you’re all waiting with baited breath right now to know whether or not I am of the same opinion. Well, the answer is that the album is still just okay, although on some listens it manages to claw its way into the ‘Good’ region in my mind. In dissecting the album, let me start with the not so positives. First, there’s the opener, “Thunder and Lightening,” which is at the bottom of the best song rating list on the album. I think Keel try to hard to be that “We’re going to come out and kick your ass” type band with it. Unfortunately, they do not convince me. The other not so positive is the power ballad, “Princess of Illusion.” Now I know that many glam type metal bands have their token ballad on every album and maybe this was what the band was going for here. However, it will not even come close to any of my favourite power ballads.

Keel’s strength is playing straight ahead heavy metal. Fortunately, they do this rather well on the remainder of the songs. The title track and “Speed Demon” do well to make you forget the opener and that momentum is only slightly killed by the power ballad. Fortunately, the best song on the album comes right after it. “Born Ready” is Keel doing straight forward metal at it’s very best and I have to say that they should have followed that format all through the album. The following track, “Metal Generation,” does follow on very nicely.

“Till Hell Freezes Over” is  an attempt to emulate Dio or the Ronnie James Dio era of Black Sabbath. It’s starts out like it’s going to be another power ballad but before I think, “Oh, not again,” the song goes up two gears into more straight ahead metal. While it’s not quite equal to what Ronnie would have done, it’s a pretty good effort on Keel’s part. Besides, it has the best guitar solo on the album. “Tonight You’re Mine” takes things back to more familiar territory although the song is more speed metal here. Then they close with another brave effort, a cover of the Rolling Stones classic, “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” Covers can be rather hit or miss and in this case, Keel put a good metal touch on the song. Would Mick and Keith approve? That’s up to them. I do like the bit at the end where Ron sings a little of the title track before advising the listener of their Miranda rights.

My honest conclusion on “Lay Down the Law” is that Keel weren’t sure what they wanted to be with the album. They try different things on different songs and some work while others don’t. If I could have advised them back in 1984, I would have told them to stick with the straight forward metal because that’s what they seem to do best.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. Lay Down the Law
  3. Speed Demon
  4. Princess of Illusion
  5. Born Ready
  6. Metal Generation
  7. Till Hell Freezes Over
  8. Tonight You’re Mine
  9. Let’s Spend the Night Together

Keel

Ron Keel- guitar, vocals

Marc Ferrari- lead guitar, backing vocals

Bryan Jay- lead guitar, backing vocals

Kenny Chaisson- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Marks- drums, backing vocals

If I were giving marks, I would give Keel a B- for their debut album. “Lay Down the Law” does have some points they should not have touched but there was some definite potential here. Would they follow on this? That question will be answered when I visit future Keel albums.

Next post: Autograph- Sign In Please

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